Declan Rice and Eddie Nketiah went face-to-face during the end of a Premier League game between West Ham and Arsenal 14 months ago - but the pair have now made up

Declan Rice and Eddie Nketiah had somewhat of a bust-up in May 2022

Declan Rice and Eddie Nketiah had somewhat of a bust-up in May 2022

Declan Rice insists he ‘loves’ Eddie Nketiah… despite the pair’s “little altercation” during Arsenal’s 2-1 win over West Ham 14 months ago.

The incident occurred towards the end of the game at the Emirates Stadium when Nketiah looked to run the clock down with Arsenal leading, much to the frustration of then-Hammers captain Rice.

But Rice, who joined Arsenal on a permanent deal this weekend, has revealed he has a long association with his new club colleague. Rice said: “I played with Eddie from under-nines to under-14s. We were both released on the same day and it’s crazy where football takes you, your journey.”

Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, Rice continued: “He’s made it through the ranks at Arsenal, I made it through the ranks at West Ham. Now we get to link back up again.

“I’ve always loved Eddie, even though we had that little altercation on the pitch before! I’ve always loved him and been close to his family. His dad is a top, top guy who used to come on all the tours with us as kids, so I’m really looking forward to seeing Eddie again and of course the other boys.”

Rice was confirmed as an Arsenal player on Saturday after choosing North London rather than a move to Manchester City. The England star has penned a £240,000 a-week deal following his record-breaking £105million move. He is determined to lead a Premier League title push and will also play in the Champions League for the first time in his career.

Declan Rice is an Arsenal player Declan Rice is an Arsenal player (


Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Speaking after his move was confirmed, Rice added: “First of all I just want to say a massive thank you to all the Arsenal fans for the support so far. It’s been overwhelming - there’s been a lot going on, a lot of speculation for months. But obviously as a player, you want to get things dealt with as quickly as possible, so you’re settled.

“Today I’ve had my first day and I’m feeling really at home. It’s been a bit overwhelming because of my relationship with West Ham. [With] the love and support I have for them, it’s been really hard to walk away. In football, amazing opportunities arise. Big clubs, like Arsenal, have come for me and it’s really hard to turn down.

“You only ever get one career and I really believe in what Mikel is building here and the squad he’s building.

“I’m really looking forward to the future with Arsenal.”